Friday, December 4, 2009

Discipline Issues in Youth Ministry

If you're involved in youth ministry, you can probably think of your "3T" kids ... the ones that talk, text, and torment when you're trying to have your teaching time. Honestly, if I didn't have kids like that in our youth ministry, I'd be disappointed because it would mean that we're not truly trying to reach out to EVERY student no matter where they are at in their journey with God.

I'm definitely not one of those people that needs total quiet when I share. I don't mind kids talking a bit. I don't even mind kids texting a bit. I realize that kids are good multi-taskers and can pay attention even when doing multiple things at once. I stop tolerating the behavior if I see it becoming a distraction to others or if I just feel like, "OK, this is enough."

Anyway, this past Wednesday I had a little disruption during our teaching time and just wanted to share how we try to handle things like that and also get any advice from any other youth ministry friends who'd like to share how they handle things.

I noticed one group of kids that was being particularly disruptive during our announcement time. After our annoucement time, I went up to them quietly and simply asked them to calm down. During our teaching time, they were being pretty disruptive as well. While I was teaching, I looked their way several times trying to let them see that I was not approving of their behavior. I finally just "called them out" from up front and politely told them that their behavior was being very disrepectful and that hey can feel free to leave if they are unable to calm down. No hard feelings if they want to leave. They just need to stop being disruptive. After our meeting was over, I went up to them personally and let them know how thankful I am that they are a part of axis, but that I simply ask them to be quiet during our teaching time.

As I reflect on the situation, the only thing that I think could have been done differently would have been if one of our adult staff would have intervened either by talking with them or sitting down with them, etc. Our adults often will do that when needed, but I noticed that on this night, we didn't have any adults around that specific group of kids.

Anyway, any other advice out there? How do you handle these type of situations? How much texting/talking do you allow? Are there specific measures you set in place to keep guidelines you've set for behavior. Just curious.

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